Tuesday 3 June 2008

Save the florists!

We've run a few bits and pieces on here about plaques - but not much on the historic blue plaques (though I sense a theme for the summer there!).


But there are also a number of what you might call 'genuine residents' plaques' - raised by friends, admirers and local people who appreciate the work, dedication of their fellow residents.

This one on Willoughby Road is just one example and is very charming, but of late it has assumed a greater significance...

Clearly Maggie Richardson died in 1974, but until last year there was still a florist on this corner (Willoughby Road meets Hampstead High Street). Now gone.

Until 2006 there was a florist outside Hampstead Heath Railway Overground Station. Now gone.

But for how much longer is the florist in South End Green, outside Marks and Spencers and the Royal Free Hopsital going to survive? There is an ongoing and documented spat between the officials and planners and highways crew and the florist himself.

So these three things all left me wondering if we were seeing a decline or collapse of on street florists? Is there a specific issue here, are supermarket chains overtaking the industry, is it home delivery flowers and interflora (and brand variants) winning the battle?

I for one much prefer street traders, I think they add character, act as eyes and ears of the community, they provide opportunity for what I regard as the 'little man' and are great features on the street - noise, colour, charm...

Let's not lose things that are good about the area we live in and this is one small part worth standing up for. So when did you last buy from your local florist?

Ed Fordham

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